Bali Blog: Where to stay

Villa Desa Roro
Villa Desa Roro

Last July we took off to Bali with friends: 7 nights at a fancy villa, then another week, just hubby and I:  No kid. Just us… Bali bliss.  We enjoyed our holiday so much we are going back to Bali in August, this time with our boy, for a week.  Since that holiday I’ve had so many people reach out asking for tips and recommendations. Questions include ‘where to stay?’ Or, ‘do we choose a villa or a hotel?’ are key FAQs. There’s an abundance of accommodation options in Bali and trying to decide where to stay can be mind boggling – I know, I’ve been there! So, here’s a post that I hope might help if you are trying to navigate how to holiday in Bali.   

Where to stay?  What location?

Firstly, a disclaimer, I don’t have all the answers. We were in Bali for just under two weeks and we stayed in four different locations, three different places in Seminyak and at a resort in Ubud.  There are a whole heap more locations in Bali that you could stay – but I can’t tell you about these: I haven’t been there yet. 

With that out of the way, knowing what I know now about Bali, if this is your first trip I’d recommend staying half of your time in Seminyak or Canguu, then heading north east into the cooler climes of the mountain town of Ubud. 

What’s the deal with each location? Here’s a breakdown – of the only four locations I know! (more…)

Top Things to Do in Rotorua

Seeing as I’m a (proud) local, I’m frequently contacted and asked about the top things to do in Rotorua. Ahead of an influx of visitors over the upcoming holidays, here’s my personal list of Top Things to Do in Rotorua.  There’s a mix of freebie activities here as well as paid favourites: I’m mindful a visit to this gorgeous town could require a second mortgage, but that doesn’t need to be the case – so I’ve mixed it up!

Lastly, a disclaimer, I haven’t visited all of the local attractions and activities we have on our doorstep so apologies if there’s a Must Do I’ve inadvertently missed off… Isn’t that often the case, we can be a bit ‘rats’ at exploring our own backyard?!  Feel free to leave a comment with your Top Tips though, help a visitor out.

Redwoods Tree walk 

I’ve written a whole blog post on the Redwoods Tree Walk, the elevated walkway through Rotorua’s iconic Redwood Forest.  Since I wrote the post, I’ve been back and visited this attraction four times – and I’ll go again, happily: It’s that good.

Our local forest was already stunning and somewhat magical before some clever buggers put in an elevated walkway. Now, in the form of a suspended 30 minute ecological walk, you get a stunning birds eye perspective of this gorgeous forest.  Geez, talk about take the forest to the Next Level! When’s the best time to do the walk? Day or night? Tricky one: Both are good for their own reasons.   That said, a walk at night-time is uniquely spectacular as there’s lit up David Trubridge lanterns scattered throughout the forest, as well as a magical light display. My tip is:  Go before sunset, kid bedtime allowing, to get the best of both worlds. 

Visit Redwoods Treewalk website here. (more…)

Rarotonga – Embracing Island Time

My favourite photo.
My favourite photo.

Raro.  The capital of the Cook Islands,  a Pacific island holiday destination that’s 32km in circumference and more-or-less a hop skip-and-a-jump from NZ. It’s also the name of a powdered flavoured juice Mum used to make up for us when we kids (that I wouldn’t touch now on account of the sugar content).

Late September saw three of us, my Mum, my son and I, winging over to Raro (or Rarotonga as it’s officially known) for a five night holiday to rest, relax, replenish, but not shop, coz’, frankly, there’s nothing to buy. Hubby stayed home on account of work and to keep an eye on the cat.

We’ve  been to Rarotonga before, five years ago, for Christmas. The whole family went that last time, including my brother and his best mate (my brother’s girlfriend was supposed to come but they broke up before the trip, the flight was non –refundable, but transferable, so Ben came instead). Oh, and Trevor from next-door came too. We’ve always had the kind of family where hangers-on are encouraged and welcomed: They spice things up and make life more interesting.  That trip was most memorable for me as we left NZ on 21 of December, which happens to be my birthday. Then, bonus, on account of crossing the International Date Line, we arrived on 20 December. I milked that. (more…)

Weekend away in Windy Wellington

SAMSUNG CSCHubby, not prone to romantic gestures, took the bull by the horns recently and declared that we were heading to Wellington for the weekend – no kid allowed. He even jacked up a babysitter (amen for grandparents). I didn’t need to be asked twice.  I was there: With bells on. Wellington, despite the bad rap it frequently gets for it’s often undesirable weather, is hands down my favourite city in NZ and I reckon it’s well deserving of the nickname ‘the coolest little capital in the world”.  I love Wellington’s energy, the hum of activity and I feel that, no matter who you are, you’ll find your special place in Wellington.   (more…)

Koh Samui: Shopping, Cooking Schools, Tailor Made Clothes & More! (Part 2)

Typical pricelist at a beachfront massage (when we went NZ$1 = 24 Thai Baht
Typical pricelist at a beachfront massage (when we went NZ$1 = 24 Thai Baht

Here is part 2 of ‘Kicking Back in Koh Samui’: Cooking schools, massage, partying, shopping, technology and how to pay for stuff! I have just realised my DREAM JOB in writing this: Taking small groups of lovely ladies to Koh Samui and being their tour guide! I can just imagine them getting off of one the bus services like Phantip Travel that run from Phuket to Koh Samui and showing them around this fantastic place. The only way this could have been even more perfect if I were on the beaches of Koh Tao which isn’t far from Koh Samui, but just cause I’m not enjoying that beautiful view doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the scenery from Bangkok to Koh Tao. I knew my degree in Tourism Management would come in handy some day! (more…)

Kicking back in Koh Samui (part 1)

Our view from our breakfast table
Our view from our breakfast table

Looking for a one stop overseas destination that’ll offer everything? Adrenaline opportunities? Foodie paradise? Somewhere you can seriously relax and get away from it all? What about amazing tropical weather so you can return home with a kick butt tan? Well, I personally don’t think you can beat Thailand’s Koh Samui. Our family holiday there was so amazing I’ve (uncharacteristically) struggled with the words to do this paradise justice. Also I’ve got so much to say I’m going to have to divide my narration into two parts! Here’s part one. (more…)